Man shot dead by police in US after face mask dispute


A man has been shot and killed by police after a dispute over a face mask at a shop in the US state of Michigan.

Sean Ruis, 43, was suspected of stabbing a 77-year-old man who had challenged him because he was not wearing a mask while in the Quality Dairy store in Lansing on Tuesday morning.

Shop workers had refused to serve Ruis and he fled from the shop and drove away.

Demonstrators hold a rally in front of the Michigan state capital building to protest the governor's stay-at-home order on May 14, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan
Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered residents to wear masks inside shops

About half an hour later, he was spotted in a nearby residential neighbourhood by a sheriff’s deputy.

He got out of his car holding a screwdriver and knives, according to Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich.

Sheriff Reich said that the female officer, a 22-year veteran, had shot at him as he tried to attack her.

Police released security camera footage which showed the officer shouting: “Drop the weapon! Drop the weapon!” as Ruis started coming towards her.

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Sheriff Reich said the officer had used her gun because her life was in danger, adding: “She had to use deadly force – she did it properly”.

Ruis, who had worked for the Michigan Department of Transportation since 2008, according to the Detroit News, died in hospital.

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The elderly stabbing victim is also in hospital, but in a stable condition.

Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered residents to wear masks inside shops in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus, which has killed more than 136,000 people in the US.

But it is not the first time reluctance to wear masks has resulted in violence.

A security guard at a shop in Flint was shot and killed in May after denying entry to a customer who was not wearing a mask.

This week, a shop worker in northern Michigan said a customer had pulled out a knife when she asked him to wear a mask.

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